Busted: Drought gone in most of Minnesota; Best day of spring?

96.12% of Minnesota in drought 3 months ago

63.44% of MN in drought 2 weeks ago

60% of MN in drought last week

10% of Minnesota in drought today (Today’s release of U.S. Drought Monitor)

70s and sunny today – Best day of spring?

Perfect weekend? Fishing opener and Mother’s Day look spectacular

Sun watch – AR1476 pointed right at earth may unleash solar flares

New NWS website design coming soon! Preview here.

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

Breaking News: The drought is (basically) over in Minnesota

Okay, so you didn’t need me to tell you that right? You can see your yard and garden has recovered. Lawns are lush green. Trees look better than they have in years. Standing water in your farm field last week. Creeks roared back to life.

Our early May deluge has basically ended the drought in (most of) Minnesota for now. 3″ to 8″ of rain across Minnesota in the past two weeks has soaked into thirsty soils.

Today’s U.S. Drought Monitor release confirms what we’ve been seeing with our own eyes.

As of today, only 10% of Minnesota is now listed as in “drought.”

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Source: USDA/University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The two stubborn areas that are still listed in moderate drought are along I-90 centered on Fairmont, and along the North Shore. The only area still categorized under “Severe Drought” is a small section of the North Shore basically between Tofte and Grand Marais.

97.26% of Minnesota is still listed as “abnormally dry” so we’ll need to see at least average rainfall in the coming weeks to keep from slipping back into drought.

Considering that 96.12% of Minnesota was in moderate to severe drought just 3 months ago, the drop to just 10% this week is dramatic and welcome.

As I posted earlier this week, this week’s Minnesota Crop Reports shows 89% of Minnesota topsoil has “adequate to surplus” moisture in the top 6″ of soil.

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Source: MN Crop Report

Hooray!

Springtacular: Could this be the best day of spring 2012?

If you took a poll asking Minnesotans what is the “perfect spring day” today might be the answer.

Bright sun and blue sky rule the day today. A dewy morning gives way to a mild afternoon with temps shooting into the 70s in most of Minnesota. Light southerly winds will gradually build into the 5-15 mph range this afternoon.

Golf? Fore! Sailing? Oh yeah. Outdoor lunch? Table please!

This is about as good as it gets in Minnesota in springtime.

One word of weather advice.

Enjoy!

But don’t forget the sunscreen. The sun today is as high in the sky (and powerful) as it is on July 31st! We’re now getting more than 4 times the incoming solar energy we saw in late December.

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

Fishing opener and Mother’s Day: The perfect weekend?

It appears for once the weather stars have aligned for the perfect spring weekend, and the timing couldn’t be better.

A passing cool front will bring a chance for (mostly light) rain Friday.

Then, a weak bubble of high pressure drifts over Minnesota this weekend.

High pressure means sinking air. And sinking air is generally dry and sunny.

Saturday: Minnesota Fishing Opener:

Mostly sunny and cool 40s in the morning. High in the 60s by afternoon. Wind light west 5-10 mph. Steady barometer.

(Keep in mind that lake temps are still in the “hypothermically cold” 50s in most of Minnesota. Have a great time on the lake this weekend, but know that an unexpected plunge into the chilled waters can quickly render you numb. Be careful out there!)

Sunday: Mother’s Day

Mostly sunny skies and milder! High near 74 metro, upper 60s to near 70 north.

Wind west 5-10 mph. Steady barometer.

Click on the image below for a bigger view.

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

Check out the detailed weekend forecast “meteogram” on the NWS new website design here.

Sun Watch: Giant sunspot AR 1476 facing “earthward” could unleash massive solar flares

We’ll have to keep an eye on the sun for the next few days. The mega sunspot AR 1476 is the biggest in years, and it’s now pointed directly at earth.

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Source: NASA

There are signs it may unleash a solar flare at any time, and it could be a big one.

Details from spaceweather.com.

SOLAR ACTIVITY INTENSIFIES: Huge sunspot AR1476 is crackling with M-class solar flares and appears to be on the verge of producing something even stronger. The sunspot’s ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field harbors energy for X-class flares, the most powerful kind. Earth is entering the line of fire as the sunspot rotates across the face of the sun.

Make it a great day!

PH

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